Review By Patricia Di Risio
Directed by Nicci Wilks. Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Forum Theatre. 154 Flinders Street, Melbourne. 7 – 23 April 2023.
Alleluia, they’re back! Launched in 1977, Circus Oz became a national treasure and international brand that delivered a very unique style of circus. Its emphasis on stunning and breath-taking acrobatics combined with a quintessential Australian larrikin style humour made them highly sought after and popular. A combination of COVID and funding body issues sadly saw the company close in 2021.
The inclusion of this show in the Comedy Festival is indeed fitting as it draws on all its comedic heritage. The show is devised and performed by Debra Batton, Sharon Gruenert and Spenser Inwood (Casting Off), Jarred Dewey and Olivia Porter (Yummy and Party Ghost), Flip Kammera (Fantasia Fitness), Leo Pentaland (Blunderland), Carl Polke and Chris Lewis (Los Cojones, Squawkestra, Bush Gothic, Wiki People), with cameo appearances from circus legends.
The show is truly a blast of non-stop energy. Each member performs with an emphatic enthusiasm that makes their joy to be back on stage extremely visible. The show features predominantly variations of trapeze that are truly awesome and interspersed with some hilarious juggling, clowning and crazy fun antics. The performers often defy gravity and the gracefulness of their mid-air movements and flights make the show compelling and very exciting.
The music is always thumping and while the show is very much a ‘back to basics’, the costume design is inventive and striking; full of vibrant and bold colours and also making good use of light flowing fabrics. The performers have a gender-bending appearance and the casting really speaks to a commitment to diversity. The sheer level of delight and glee is absolutely contagious, and this is a show that will leave you wanting much, much, more of this sensational Australian phenomenon.
Author: Patricia Di Risio